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Documents on Germany, 1944-1959 : background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956

Address by the Polish Foreign Minister (Rapacki), on disarmament, October 2, 1957,   pp. 214-220 PDF (3.2 MB)

Page 216

2111          DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY, 1944-59
125. The key issue before the twelfth session of this Assembly is dis-
armament. This is not the first time that the United Nations has had
to deal with it. Towards the close of the last session, most delegations
represented here expressed optimism as to the possibility of the dis-
cussions held that year leading at least to a preliminary agreement.
Unfortunately, the results of the work of the Sub-Committee of the
Disarmament Commission fell short of that expectation.
126. As is apparent from the way the discussions developed in the
Sub-Comnmittee in London, the primary obstacle to progress was the
concept of so-called "global strategy" of the Western Powers, which
assigns a vital role to nuclear weapons. We have had an eloquent ex-
ample in this very hall of where such reasoning can lead. There is no
point in challenging the view put forward by the Secretary of State
of the United States on the humanitarian benefits which it is alleged
can come out of the development of nuclear weapons. There can be
no doubt that the peoples of the world prefer to have their security
guaranteed by effective prohibition and destruction of nuclear
weapons rather than by even the 'most subtle moral and religious
scruples of a given government.
127. The second obstacle to the Sub-Committee's progress was the
insistence of the Western Powers that concrete measures for disarma-
ment should be conditional on the simultaneous solution of other con-
troversial international problems.
128. Finally, the third obstacle arose from the opposition of the
-Federal Republic of Germany and from considerations relating to the
remilitarization of Western Germany.
129. As a result of these various factors, the discussions on disarma-
ment were protracted and it was impossible to reach even partial
agreement. Meanwhile, time is running out. Every month that the
armaments race continues is becoming far too costly, in all ways, for
the peoples of the world.
130. We are now witnessing a transformation in the military forces
of the great Powers. Conventional armaments are being replaced by
nuclear weapons. There is a growing danger that other countries
will also have nuclear weapons. When armies equipped with tactical
nuclear weapons stand face to face, there will be a greater danger that
weapons of mass destruction will be used, even in local conflicts.
131. That is another reason why, if we cannot, at this juncture,
reach agreement on the permanent and absolute prohibition of the use
of all nuclear weapons, we believe that the proposal of the Soviet
Union stipulating that the great Powers should undertake provisional-
ly not to use nuclear weapons for a period of at least five years is a
step in the right direction. The Polish delegation will support any
move to bring us closer to the basic solution of this problem.
132. We shall likewise support any step towards the discontinuance
of tests of nuclear weapons as soon as possible. That is what people
everywhere want; that is the conclusion to be drawn from the warn-
ings given by the most eminent scientists. There can be no excuse for
further procrastination. In our view, the discontinuance of nuclear
tests is not only a first step towards their prohibition, but a very im-
portant element in the relaxation of international tension, which
everybody will welcome with relief.

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